Dr Daniel Hale Williams

Dr Daniel Hale Williams

Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 4 Aug 1931 (aged 75)
Idlewild, Lake County, Michigan, USA
Burial Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Plot Bellevue Section, Lot 20
Memorial ID 6870413 · View Source
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Medical Pioneer. He is credited with performing the first open-heart surgery. He was the son of a barber and one of eight children, being born in 1858 (or 1856) in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He graduated with an Medical degree from a three-year program at Chicago Medical School. He then began practicing in Chicago, Illinois at a time when there were only three other black physicians in the city. His practice grew as he treated both black and white patients, and he was acutely aware of the limited opportunities for black physicians. In 1889, he was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health (now known as the Illinois Department of Public Health), where he worked with medical standards and hospital rules. He later founded Provident Hospital in Chicago in 1891, the first African-American owned and operated hospital and first nursing school for African-Americans in the United States. On July 10, 1893 he earned widespread renown as a surgeon when he, aided by others, performed a new type of surgery to remove a knife from the heart on a young man who had chest stab wounds. He also successfully repaired a tear in his heart lining, which saved his life. In December of 1895 Doctor Williams helped organized the National Medical Association (NMA), which was, at the time, the only organization open to black physicians. He was selected to serve as the organizations first Vice-President, and was was later asked by President Grover Cleveland to serve as Surgeon-in-Chief at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he served from 1894 to 1898. In 1898, he married Alice Johnson, a school teacher that he had met in Washington, D.C. and they returned to Chicago, where he where he became chief of surgery of Provident Hospital in 1902. He continued also to develop his practice and his involvement in community affairs, and his speeches were printed and influenced African-American leaders in other cities to consider starting hospitals. He later faced differences with hospital administrators and other physicians at Provident and resigned in 1912. He then was appointed attending staff surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital in the city (now known as Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center) where he served until suffering a stroke in 1926. He and his wife later moved to Idlewild, Michigan where he lived in retirement until his death in 1931. During his life time he received many honors, including being named a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons (1913) and being awarded and honorary degree from Howard University School of Medicine. In 1970 he was awarded a bill by the United States Congress that issued a commemorative stamp in his honor. At his death, he left donations to many organizations including the NAACP, Meharry Medical College, and other institutions. Throughout his career, he urged African-American physicians to become leaders in their communities.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Curtis Jackson
  • Added: 23 Oct 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6870413
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Daniel Hale Williams (18 Jan 1856–4 Aug 1931), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6870413, citing Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .